Sanna Andersson, 44, who lived a cosmopolitan life and enjoyed tourism, could not have imagined a few years ago that, most preferably all over the world, she would just sit on the terrace of her own cottage watching the boats passing by.

- Even when I was building the cottage, I doubted I would ever come here, but now we spend almost all our free time here, even in winter, Andersson says happily on the terrace of his own villa on the island of Vessö in Porvoo in the village of Sondby.

Sanna Andersson, who works as a specialist at the Ministry of the Environment, and her entrepreneur Carl-Johan, 45, live with their daughters in Sofia, 11, and Selma, 9, in Laajasalo, Helsinki.

Throughout her life, Sanna has lived and worked around the world in the mild Caribbean heat and pulsating London, and the desire to see and sense the world has not waned since she started the family: the family has traveled a lot over the years, both long distances and ski trips in Switzerland.

A few years ago, they had the opportunity to build a summer cottage on a 1.2-hectare hillside plot owned by Carl-Johan's father on the island of Vessö. The construction opportunity came as a bit of a surprise to the family, as they hadn’t even thought they wanted their own cottage before - let alone they were cottage people.

- I guess that cottage is a bit like a part of Finnish life, so the feeling that it was being built came pretty quickly, Calle laughs.

- Even the children are still so young that they would still be happy to come to the cottage with us, Sanna remembers thinking.

Upstairs leads to custom-made personal small stairs.

Photo: Ulla-Maija Lähteenmäki

The hundred-square-meter villa was finally completed in 2018. That same summer, Sanna planted a cherry tree in the yard, the growth of which the family could follow. Even at that time, Sanna thought that the yard of the cottage would be made as easy to maintain as possible, as she did not feel that she had a green thumb at all.

- Initially, only the municipality had to come to the yard, because we didn't want any work camp for this, Sanna laughs.

The magnificent wooden dining table is Sanna's discovery from the Helsinki junk stage Facebook group. - The table was originally brown, but we painted it with professionals.

Photo: Ulla-Maija Lähteenmäki

However, the opposite happened. In the summer of 2019, Sanna is proud to present her crops: in addition to the cherry tree, zucchini, herbs, onions, potatoes, arugula, lettuce, peas, carrots, radishes, sea buckthorn, blackberries and rhubarb and, of course, various flowers grow in the yard.

- I would never have believed this madness! When we’re out of here, most I miss my plants!

Inspired by his Alpine Travels, the villa, named by the family as Hütte, was drawn by Sanna and Calle’s own pen without an architect. The seafront wall of the lower floor of the dark, almost black-surfaced one and a half-storey villa is made entirely of glass.

- We wanted the most unobstructed view possible for our cottage. Our family with relatives has a villa built in Strömsö with the same technology and large windows, Sanna reveals her source of inspiration.

The family's two-year-old Devon Rex cat Lennu aka Sir Lennart also enjoys villa life.

Photo: Ulla-Maija Lähteenmäki

One part of the glass wall opens onto a completely huge, approximately 200-square-meter terrace that surrounds the entire building and is partially covered, bordered by a glass railing that breaks the magnificent landscape as little as possible. A lot of the pearl of the terrace is embedded in it.

The interior surfaces of the villa are white throughout, so the light flooding in from the glass wall multiplies in the open ground floor. There is space for dining, living and a state-of-the-art kitchen with islands.

- I have a passion for cooking. I always read cookbooks from start to finish and develop recipes myself. We often choose trips on culinary grounds, Sanna reveals.

On the ground floor of the villa you will also find the parents' bedroom, a toilet with washing towers to make everyday life easier, and a sauna, where it all started.

- We drew the sauna first. It was essential for us to enjoy an unobstructed sea view from the benches, Sanna says.

Upstairs was a shallow space for the realm of the girls, a small TV room and a personal tower room.

- We definitely wanted the tower upstairs as a vantage point. We wanted to create a variety of double spaces here to sit and spend the evening, Calle says.

For the same reason, the downstairs living area does not have a sofa but two inviting armchairs facing the sea.

- We mostly want to be here only with our own group. The girls often stay upstairs, so we don’t need a couch. We watch the sea here together, watching TV upstairs, Calle says.

Photo: Ulla-Maija Lähteenmäki

The interior is minimalist anyway, space and light have been nurtured and landscape and nature play a major role.

- We've been furnishing here for a long time. Quite a lot we have bought and received used, such as patio furniture, tower rocking chairs and a dining table.

Ecology is also reflected in the technical solutions of the winter-friendly villa: the villa is heated by geothermal heat and a storage fireplace.

The villa is connected to the Porvoo electricity grid, but Andersson also plans to acquire solar panels.

Running water enters the villa through its own groundwater pump, while there are closed tanks for wastewater that are emptied from time to time. There are also dreams of buying a composter to help Sanna's crops.

The floors of the villa and the walls of the toilet and bathroom are covered with large, ceramic tiles.

Photo: Ulla-Maija Lähteenmäki

Andersson enjoys his villa so well that even though it is a short distance from there to work in Helsinki, they have started to favor teleworking, as surprisingly the internet connections are even better than at home in Helsinki. The girls in the family also enjoy the villa.

- The families of the girls' schoolmates have cottages on the same island, so there are friends even in the summer. In winter, the girls go downhill in Porvoo, Sanna says.

Perhaps the biggest eco-act, however, has emerged as if unnoticed: with its own villa, the family’s long-distance travel has decreased.

- When you come here to the silence of the cottage only for a weekend, for example, it gives much more than long distances, Sanna says.

The villa is surrounded by a 200-square-meter terrace with glass railings, which also has a lot. - When I drink my morning coffee on the terrace, read work emails and take care of orders, it has a framework for working in place, Calle says.

Photo: Ulla-Maija Lähteenmäki

The upstairs tower with rocking chairs is a couple’s favorite spot in their villa.

Photo: Ulla-Maija Lähteenmäki

The girls' own soup is white too.

Photo: Ulla-Maija Lähteenmäki

Andersson's villa in Porvoo is built of glulam beams using the technology used by the Tampere-based Joim construction company, which enables large windows.

Photo: Ulla-Maija Lähteenmäki